Zarn is an active member of the fly fishing community on Facebook. Few weeks ago he post a serie of photos with his fly rod wood box. It tuns out that he was also building his own bamboo rods. Written by his own hands, this is the story of his addiction.
They’re noodles and they’re heavy! That’s the eternal phrase that comes back each time someone talks about split cane bamboo rods. Even I myself stayed on this imagery for quiet some time about bamboo rods because the only ones I tried were rather heavy and their action very parabolic. But a visit to a friend’s house completely changed my vision on things.
Francis, not to mention his name, made me try a new generation bamboo rod. Then and there it was a total surprise. Extraordinary, powerful, fast, light and a comfort to fish completely crazy.
I only now learned that the rods are hollowed to be lighter, that they are new ferrules like the ones made of bamboo, but what has enormously evolved are the tapers of these rods. Fast actions that leave no room for envy for modern rods and an astonishing power. I was sold! So just a few days later I ordered, bought and made all the necessities for a rods conception.
I then signed up on the web site of Gillum France’s main reference for bamboo rod making. Friendship and most of all, sharing, is what makes this web site such sheer happiness. Buying some bamboo (arundiaria amabilis), special bamboo that comes from a certain region of China, and then started making one. Thanks to Francis and Gillum’s web site, I quickly made my first rod, an Alcibiade and it was the beginning of the end.
The region of Ardeche where I live is a great playground for these jewels called Split cane bamboo rods. I use rods ranging from under 6ft up to 7 1/2ft even 8ft. Adding a little natural silk fly line and it’s beyond sheer happiness.
Only small rods? Nope all is possible with bamboo. For some of my travels I made more specific rods like a 12 ft, 4-piece rod for salmon and sea trout and two 8ft 6 weight rods for New Zealand’s small trout.
By the way, I’ve come to figure the power exerted by the bamboo on the fish. Incomparable with carbon! The fish are put a bay buy the pressure of the fibers, which exert an equivalent of the fish’s power. In Russia I hardly ever saw the backing of the line with these bamboo rods, where as with carbon it was systematic. And to finish, there is the beauty of the object.
Nodeless rods, flamed or blond, incrustations, reel seats made of precious woods. Leather cases, etchings, agate stripping guides etc, etc, etc. I really invite you to go see some of these marvels on Gillum’s web site and I think you will be surprised by these artists amongst those passionate rod makers. Check in english RodBuilding and Classic Fly Rod both forums.
And if you have the occasion to try out one of these “modern” split cane bamboo rods, do not deprive yourself of the pleasure, witch I’m sure will surprise you. Bamboo is back? I don’t know but one thing is for sure, it will never be left in the dark.